Russian Lamb Market Will Experience an Explosive Growth

The lamb market in Russia may grow significantly. Work is underway to introduce Russian lamb meat breed. Caucasian producers already use the technology of replanting of purebred lamb embryos into common sheep.

The growing interest in mutton and beef may be caused by two reasons: the consumer trend of healthy food consumption and the growing number of Muslim consumers who prefer mutton and beef.

In 2022, Russia produced a total of 11.7 mln t of all types of meat. The share of lamb in this volume is 2%, i.e. approximately 234.4 ths t. According to the report of the “Centre of Agroanalytics” of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, poultry has the largest share – 45% of the total volume, while the share of pork is 38%.

In 2021, producers all over the world produced about 16 mln t of lamb and goat meat, 1.6% of which were produced by Russia. The main lamb producer in the world is China. This country produced 5.2 mln t of lamb in 2021. India holds the second place with 824.3 ths t, which is more than six times less than the amount produced by China. The other TOP 10 producers of lamb and goat meat in the world are Pakistan, Australia, Turkey, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria and Chad.

According to the report of the “Centre of Agroanalytics” of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, Russian producers are at the 16th place in this list. Moreover, Russia takes the 52 place in the world ranking of lamb and goat meat exporters with the volume of 0.17 ths t for 2021.

At the same time, in 2021 Russia took the 54 place in the world ranking of lamb and goat meat importers with the volume of 0.72 ths t of imported meat. The first place in the world ranking of lamb and goat meat importers is taken again by China with 410.6 ths t. The other largest importers are USA, France, UAE, the United Kingdom, Germany, Malaysia, Canada, Italy and the Republic of Korea.

Russian meat breed

Vladimir Kravchenko, Head of the Industry Department “Animal Husbandry” of the “Centre of Agroanalytics”, told that the production volumes of lamb and beef in Russia have remained the same in the last ten years. The annual per capita consumption in Russia is one and a half kilograms. The preliminary results for last year are 210K t. The average export volume is 10K t per year. Lamb is still a niche product that is exported to UAE and China.

Vladimir Kravchenko believes that the Russian lamb market will continue growing. For this purpose, Russia must address the issue of genetics in order to have its own meat breeds. “The Ministry of Agriculture currently has a program of creation and development of Russian lamb meat breed which is currently at different stages of planning and completion,” Vladimir Kravchenko said.

According to his data, the draft program includes funding for the development of the existing sheep breeding production facilities and for the creation of a Russian meat breed. It is expected that the Russian lamb has the same prospects as the Russian turkey had, because its volume also was low at first, but now the turkey production entirely meets the needs of the Russian market (in 2022, the turkey export volume was 25.7 ths t, while the import volume was 1.2 ths t).

Lubov Savkina, CEO of the information and analytical agency “IMIT” talked at the AGRO.PRO conference about the interesting experience of lamb meat breed cultivation that is currently being implemented in the North Caucasus.

“They brought a herd of pedigree lambs and offered the local lamb producers to replant the meat breed embryos into ewes of any breed,” Lubov Savkina said. This way, the North Caucasus, where lamb consumption is generally higher than in any other region in Russia, tries to solve the problem related to the lack of local lamb meat breeds.

Meat consumption record
According to the Rosstat’s data, the annual consumption of any type of meat in Russia is an average of 79 kg per person. The government believes that it’s an all-time record and that has never happened before, even in the USSR.

The meat self-sufficiency ratio in Russia exceeds the necessary level of food safety. For example, the pork production is 109.4%, which means that it’s more than the domestic market needs.

Andrey Dalnov, Head of the Sectoral Expertise Centre of Rosselkhozbank, thinks that the Russian lamb market is currently at the threshold of an explosive demand. There’s a high interest in this product, and with the appearance of lamb products at the retail stores their consumption will grow rapidly. “I think that Russia will soon cross the meat consumption threshold of 80 kg per capita,” Andrey Dalnov said.

The meat consumption growth in Russia may also be caused by the gradual reduction of its cost, and hence the retail prices. This, in turn, has been caused by the drop in grain prices and the cost of oilseed processed products from which feed for farm animals is produced. Animal feed represents a significant portion of expenditures needed for the production of any type of meat (Igor Kuznetsov,